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A message from Bishop Holloway

(This message was also sent via e-bulletin)

Dear Friends,

Voting members of the ELCA from around the country have been meeting since last week and began consideration of the recommendations before us on Monday. Many decisions have been made and are still to be made before we depart for our homes.

Many of these decisions have far reaching implications on the Southern Ohio Synod and the ELCA.

You may have heard by now that the Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust Social Statement was approved by a 66.67% margin. A two-thirds vote was needed for passage. The vote could not have been closer.

We have spent the past two days considering the implementing resolutions of the proposed Ministry Standards report and amendments that concern the report.

As of this writing, the latest vote before the assembly is the request by the ELCA asking congregations to provide welcome and support to rostered leaders in publicly accountable, lifelong, monogamous, same-gender relationships.

Earlier, we considered the recommendation to join in full communion with the United Methodist Church. This passed by an overwhelming majority. Working along side our brothers and sisters in the United Methodist Church is not new to us in the Southern Ohio Synod. Some of our congregations got their start within the Methodist Church 100 years ago. The passage of this recommendation will allow us to fulfill God's mission together.

Congregations are always free to determine how we live the faith in our membership-that does not change. Pastors may still be selected as the congregation sees fit and in keeping with the synod constitution. Please stay in conversation with your pastor about how your congregation will live out the faith in light of the many decisions made at this year's Churchwide Assembly. We have many opportunities ahead of us to lead and share the Gospel in our communities and around the world.

There is much to talk about. I am asking our rostered leaders to join me on Tuesday, August 25, 2009 from 1-3 pm at St. John's Lutheran Church in Grove City for a recap and discussion of the ELCA Churchwide Assembly, including how the actions of the assembly impact life in the Southern Ohio Synod.

I will share more news with you when I return to Columbus next week.

I ask that you keep us in your prayers as we reflect on the faith of the church catholic and the request made of us. I am praying daily for you and hope that you will do the same for me and the other voting members here in Minneapolis as we share the heartfelt convictions of the Southern Ohio Synod and ELCA.

Callon Holloway, Jr.

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Sharene Schmalz  August 22, 2009

Wish I could be there on Tuesday afternoon.

When do you think the ELCA-REVISED VERSION of the BIBLE will be in print? Surely Leviticus and Romans will be edited.